58 U.S. 399 (1855), The John Jay

Citation:58 U.S. 399, 15 L.Ed. 95
Party Name:SEBRA M. BOGART, WILLIAM J. WILCOX, AND LEONARD F. FITCH, LIBELLANTS AND APPELLANTS, v. THE STEAMBOAT JOHN JAY, HER TACKLE, &C. GEORGE LOGAN, CLAIMANT.
Case Date:January 23, 1855
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 399

58 U.S. 399 (1855)

15 L.Ed. 95

SEBRA M. BOGART, WILLIAM J. WILCOX, AND LEONARD F. FITCH, LIBELLANTS AND APPELLANTS,

v.

THE STEAMBOAT JOHN JAY, HER TACKLE, &C. GEORGE LOGAN, CLAIMANT.

United States Supreme Court.

January 23, 1855

OPINION

THIS was an appeal from the circuit court of the United States for the southern district of New York.

It was a libel filed by the appellants of the steamboat John Jay, to enforce payment of a mortgage upon the boat, under the circumstances stated in the opinion of the court.

The district court dismissed the libel, which decree was

Page 400

affirmed by the circuit court, and the libellants appealed to this court.

COUNSEL

It was submitted on the record by Mr. Johnson, for the appellants; and submitted by Mr. Cutting, for the appellee, upon a printed brief filed by himself and Mr. Byrne.

It is only necessary to state the following points for the appellee:----

First Point. The district court in admiralty had no jurisdiction of the cause of action set forth in the libel, it not being a maritime contract, or a maritime cause of action, or dependent on maritime risks. Hurry v. The Ship John and Alice, 1 Wash. R. 293; The Steamboat Orleans v. Phoebus, 11 Pet. 175; The Atlas, 2 Hagg. Adm. R. 48, 73; Abbott on Shipping, old paging 153, new 205.

Second Point. A court of admiralty has no power to enforce payment of a mortgage. The Dowthorpe, 2 W. Rob. 73; The Highlander, Ib. 109; Leland v. The Medora, 2 W. & M. 92, 97, 118.

Neither has it jurisdiction to decree possession, as between mortgagee and mortgagor. The Fruit Preserver, 2 Hagg. 181; The Neptune, 3 Ib. 132.

Mr. Justice WAYNE delivered the opinion of the court.

We will confine ourselves, in this opinion, to the inquiry, whether or not a court of admiralty has jurisdiction to decree the sale of a ship for an unpaid mortgage, or can, on that account, declare a ship to be the property of the mortgagees, and direct the possession of her to be given to them. The questions of pleading made in the case, and the other points argued, we shall not notice. The conclusion at which we have arrived makes that unnecessary.

The libellants were the owners of the steamer John Jay. They sold her to Joseph McMurray for the sum of $6,000; $1,000 in cash, and the residue of $5,000 upon a credit, for which promissory notes were given, payable to their order, in three, six, nine, twelve, fifteen, eighteen, twenty-one, and...

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